Mr Engel, what’s your view of the overall result of the evaluation?
The overall result of the evaluation is good, on the whole. Which is remarkable, given the difficult underlying conditions: COVID-19 pandemic, political crises, civil wars, increasing fragility, natural disasters. The good results are also due to the fact that the projects use preliminary context analyses in order to reflect on the specific results generated by individual measures.
Evaluations are carried out in line with internationally agreed criteria and using scientific methods. What does this mean in concrete terms?
As a federal enterprise, we work transparently and verifiably in compliance with internationally agreed standards and procedures. These include, for example, the evaluation guidelines provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). These, in turn, are aligned with the international standards of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee. And we abide by the standards of the German Evaluation Society, DeGEval.
What were the greatest challenges involved in this evaluation?
Around 120 of the 169 evaluations fell exactly within the period of the coronavirus pandemic and this required adjustment on our part. Essentially, we carried out what are called remote and semi-remote evaluations. During the lockdowns we were restricted to video conferences and telephone interviews. That worked surprisingly well, and after a certain period of adjustment we were able to achieve valid results and meet our quality criteria. Another major challenge is increasing fragility in many of our partner countries. Wars, natural disasters and unstable institutional conditions make it increasingly difficult to implement development measures in these countries – and, of course, to evaluate such measures.
Albert Engel, Director of the Evaluation Unit, on the Evaluation Report 2022
What is the most important insight you take from the evaluation?
One key finding of the evaluation is the absolutely crucial need to strengthen institutions and build individual capacities – and that pretty much applies regardless of the topic in question. What surprised me was that project scores deteriorated hardly at all during the pandemic. We now need to look more closely at why this was the case. Can it be explained by flexible readjustment? Or were appropriate countermeasures taken?
Looking ahead, where do you see the future for evaluations?
Overall, I am certain that exciting times lie ahead for the evaluation of development work. Development cooperation is evolving and evaluations are a vital way of demonstrating the results of this work.
Number of central project evaluations per continent
The majority of projects that underwent evaluation – 81 out of a total of 207 projects – were implemented in Africa.